County bowls league shaping up for tight finish
The County Wexford Active Retirement indoor bowls league is now on the final run in to a conclusion in February.
The two divisions of Purple and Gold have thrown up some tremendous bowling and likewise some unexpected results, all of which augurs well for the finals week of the competition.
Looking at the Gold division, which is the second tier of the league, we find Ferns Fighters leading the way with 38 points.
This team, of course, are only back this year after giving the league a break last year and, needless to say, they have been playing tremendous bowls over the first seven rounds.
The holders, New Ross Alpha, have a mountain to climb if they are to get within striking distance of the leaders as they are on 26 points and, with only a possible 18 points on offer, it does seem that their quest to retain this divisional title may be beyond them.
Ferns' closest rivals are The Ballagh Red team who are on 34 points, so the crucial game here will be the meeting of these two in the Ballagh in the new year.
The third-placed team is Bree who are on 28 points, and they may find the run-in tough going also as there are only three games left in which the title will be decided.
However, Bree have a home game with Ferns in January, so anything is possible.
Team position and points totals with three games to play are: Ferns Fighters 38; Ballagh Red 34; Bree 28; New Ross Alpha 26; Kilmore Gulls 24; Gorey Golds 18.
We now look at the Purple division which is really the top tier of the league. This division is not as clearcut as many back games have still to be played, with some teams having five games in total remaining while the leaders, Enniscorthy Slaneyside, have only three left.
Enniscorthy are on 34 points but crucially have lost two games, while their nearest challengers, Gorey Silvers, who have four games to play, are on 32 points but they have lost no game to date and have drawn two.
The third-placed team is the holders, New Ross Beta, on 22 points. They have also lost two games but have five to play which would have a possible 30 points on offer if they win all of these games and, given the way their skip is playing, it will take a very good team to beat them on the run-in.
Kilmore Seals, previous winners of the league, are on 20 points and they are back a bit too far to have any chance but could have a say in who will be champions with the games they will play on the run-in also.
Crucial games in the new year will be the home and away contests between New Ross and Gorey, and the two away games for Slaneyside against Kilmore and Oulart respectively.
Expect some upsets and some brilliant bowling in the concluding stages of this very popular league.
Purple division positions and points totals to date are: Slaneyside 34 points (three games to play); Gorey Silvers 32 (four games to play); New Ross Beta 22 (five games to play); Kilmore Seals 20 (four games to play); Oulart 20 (five games to play); Ferns Warriors 16 (three games to play).
Points awarded are six for a win, four for a draw, and two for a losing game.